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  1. Ice
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    Ice Member

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    Mysteries in Ancient Rome

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Ice, Dec 27, 2008.

    I guess this could go under the reading forum too, but General Writing gets way more attention, so, yeah ... ;)

    Are historical mysteries set in the Roman Empire overdone? I have some ideas I like that fit beautifully into that particular subgenre, but I don't want to beat an overused/cliche setting over the head. To be honest, I haven't actually read any of those mysteries, although right now I'm on the lookout for Steven Saylor's Roman Blood.

    More to the point, I suppose: Should I let the sheer number of ancient Roman mysteries impact my decision on whether or not to enter the fray? (I guess the wording of the question begs the answer, "Don't let other works hinder your imagination, as long as your detective isn't solving the same problems as Gordianus the Finder." Is that the proper answer?)
     
  2. Nilfiry
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    Nilfiry Contributing Member

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    No, by all means go for it. It's not the idea that determines whether it's trite, but how you write it.
     
  3. Ice
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    Ice Member

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    Awesome, thanks for the encouragement :)
     
  4. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    Write what you want to write. If publishers decide that it shouldn't be published because there are too many out there at the moment, put it aside for a few years and try again.
     
  5. Ice
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    Ice Member

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    Oh, never thought about just doing that. I was fishing around and Gordianus, Saylor's series detective, is sixty-something in the latest book. Gotta end sometime.
     
  6. prettyinpink
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    prettyinpink New Member

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    Well if a larger publisher doesnt like what you write then you can always go to a smaller publisher. You will get your name out there some how. Its easier to write what excites you. You should go ahead and write whatever you want.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    if your story is compelling and the writing is good enough, the book will be marketable...
     
  8. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    True, maia. On the other hand, a rejection letter I saw once had check boxes to give the reason it was rejected. One was "There are currently too many books on the subject" or something close to that.
     
  9. jwilder
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    I'd be interested to read an historical mystery set in ancient Rome. I haven't read anything like that - some Ellis Piers/Brother Cadfael mysteries are about as close as I've come. As far as the US book market goes, Rome/ancient Rome is a popular topic, but not necessarily for fictitious mysteries. Write it, and let me know when it's published so I can read it! :)
     
  10. Ice
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    Ice Member

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    Gah, now I'm just thankful for encouragement!

    Please, don't feed my pipe dream troll :D

    Check out authors Steven Saylor, Lindsey Davis, and Ruth Downie.
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    that's only one publisher among the many...
     
  12. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    A story concept means nothing. I can tell you now, it has been done before. What matters is how you write it, the characterization, the flow, the imagery, all of it.

    There's no point to asking what other people think of the concept! They'll either say,"Sounds great," or, "it sounds like a ripoff of..."

    If the idea stirs you, write it. Then ask people what they think of the final story. After they tell you what they don't like about it, revise it, usually several times, until you're happy with it or until you throw up your hands and say the hell with it.

    Please read this thread about What is Plot Creation and Development?

    (and yes, this is a template post, which should give you an idea of how often this comes up.)

    So never mind how many stories of that type have been written before, or how popular they are as a class. If you feel you have a good story to tell, then write it, and make it shine. If the story doesn't even spark your interest, you have little chance of getting anyone else fired up about it.

    So write what excites you, and write it well enough to make your excitement contagious.
     
  13. Ice
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    Ice Member

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    I understand, but I wasn't worried about the appeal of the concept/storyline or the mechanics of plot. I was worried that, regardless of how original or quirky or well-written the story is (and I'm not saying it's either, but bear with me for argument's sake), it wouldn't be accepted because it features the same well-worn setting as countless other mysteries: Steven Saylor, Lindsey Davis, Ruth Downie, Rosemary Rowe, Caroline Laurence, John Maddox Robert, Davis Wishart, Albert Bell—the list goes on and on. It's like ... publishing my own fantasy novel set in Middle-earth.
     

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